MATTHEWS: Biden’s debate performance an indictment of the media

Biden’s nightmarish debate performance was not just an indictment of his 3½ years in office but also of the mainstream media

President Joe Biden, left, walks off stage with first lady Jill Biden, right, following last Thursday’s presidential debate in Atlanta. (Gerald Herbert / AP Photo)

Joe Biden’s presidential debate performance last Thursday was probably one of the worst ones we’ve seen in modern history.

Biden, who in May issued a Clint Eastwood-esque “make my day” challenge to Donald Trump, looked lost and out of it before he even made it to the podium, and it went downhill from there, with Biden being robotic and hoarse throughout the debate and at times seen with his mouth hanging half open.


He had multiple “senior moments” at the debate, something that could not happen to him considering how questions about his age and fitness to lead have reached a fever pitch in recent months, with some polls noting clear majorities of Americans believe he’s too old to serve a second term.

For Biden’s conservative critics, it was confirmation of what they’ve been saying about him throughout his presidency because this is often how Biden looks during public speaking engagements, where his handlers take center stage in herding the media away like cattle, limiting the ability of the public to see what they see every single day.

That said, the media, too, has played a role in trying to downplay questions about Biden’s mental acuity and cognitive health, asking him the age question on occasion, having him suggest it’s a nothingburger and then moving on.

But they’ve known. They’ve been aware of it all this time because it’s been impossible not to notice.

And yet they’ve acted as a shield of sorts for Biden because he bats for the “right” political team, the one they’re hoping prevents Trump from winning a second presidential term.

The few reporters who have dared to dig a little deeper into the age and cognitive questions have been ostracized by the Biden White House comms team, with the White House Correspondents’ Association doing little to nothing on their behalf.

Here’s how Newsmax reporter James Rosen described it:

“When I asked @‌POTUS on Jan. 19, 2022, ‘With utmost respect for your life accomplishments and the high office you hold,’ why the electorate harbored such profound concerns about his cognitive fitness, it was considered rude, and I was blackballed in briefings for eight months.”

Even as recently as two weeks ago, the media were covering for Biden on this issue, falsely declaring that the latest round of video clips showing him looking confused and incoherent were “cheap fakes,” deceptively edited and lacking context.

For anyone not paying close attention to Biden before last Thursday, his disastrous debate appearance was a shock to the system. But not the media, who by and large have looked the other way when questions about Biden’s stamina and health were raised by his Republican opposition.

This is the same press, I should remind folks, who used to trot out “medical experts” to speculate on then-President Trump’s mental health. They also once went nuts after Trump walked down a ramp slowly during a commencement address in 2020 and believed him holding a glass of water with two hands was a signal he was in poor health.

As far as I’m concerned, Biden’s nightmarish debate performance was not just an indictment of his 3½ years in office but also of the mainstream media, who had the opportunity long ago to bring this issue to light to let the American people decide where they stood on it.

Instead, they acted as de facto guardians for the official White House spin on Biden’s mental and physical health problems.

Unfortunately for them, after the display Biden put on last Thursday, the people’s trust in the media, what little bit was left, may be irrevocably broken.

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.